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Pope Benedict Angelus - On Temptation

Lent a Time to "Struggle Against the Spirit of Evil"

VATICAN CITY, MARCH 6, 2006 (Zenit) - Here is a translation of the address Benedict XVI gave Sunday before reciting the midday Angelus with people gathered in St. Peter's Square.

* * *

Dear Brothers and Sisters!

Last Wednesday we began Lent and today we celebrate the first Sunday of this liturgical time, which stimulates Christians to commit themselves to a journey of preparation for Easter. The Gospel reminds us today that, after being baptized in the Jordan River, Jesus -- moved by the Holy Spirit that rested on him, revealing that he was the Christ -- went for forty days into the Judean wilderness where he resisted the temptations of Satan (cf. Mark 1:12-13). Following their teacher and Lord, Christians also enter spiritually in the Lenten wilderness to face with him "the struggle against the spirit of evil."

The image of the wilderness is a very eloquent metaphor of the human condition. The book of Exodus narrates the experience of the people of Israel that, after having come out of Egypt, wandered in the Sinai desert during 40 years, before reaching the Promised Land.

During this long journey, the Jews experienced all the force and insistence of the tempter that led them to lose confidence in the Lord and to turn back; but, at the same time, thanks to the mediation of Moses, they learned to listen to the voice of the Lord, who was calling them to become his holy people.

Upon meditating this passage of the Bible, we understand that to fulfill our life in freedom it is necessary to surmount the test that freedom itself implies, that is, temptation. Only if liberated from falsehood and sin, can the human person, thanks to the obedience of faith that opens him to truth, find the full meaning of his existence and have peace, love and joy.

Precisely for this reason, Lent is a favorable time for a careful revision of life in recollection, prayer and penance. The spiritual exercises, which as is traditional, will take place from this afternoon until next Saturday here, in the Apostolic Palace, will help me and my collaborators of the Roman Curia enter with greater awareness in this characteristic Lenten climate.

Dear brothers and sisters, while I ask you that you support me with your prayers, I assure you of my prayer before the Lord so that, for all Christians, Lent will be an occasion of conversion and of a more courageous impulse to holiness. Let us invoke for this reason the maternal intercession of the Virgin Mary.

[After praying the Angelus, the Holy Father addressed this greeting to pilgrims:]

Next Saturday, March 11, at 5 p.m. in the Paul VI Auditorium, a Marian vigil will be held, organized by university students of Rome. Also participating, thanks to radio and television connections, will be students of other European countries and Africa. It will be a propitious occasion to pray to the Holy Virgin to open new paths of cooperation between the peoples of Europe and Africa.

Dear young people, I hope you will participate in great numbers!

[The Pope then addressed pilgrims in six languages. In English, he said:]

To all the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors I extend a warm welcome. In a special way I greet the students from Trondheim Katedralskole in Norway and those from Duquesne University in the United States.

As we begin this holy season of Lent, I pray that Almighty God will continue to bless the members of your communities with a vigorous faith and a generous spirit. Upon all of you, I invoke the abundant blessings of Almighty God.


The Vatican , VA
Pope Benedict XVI - Bishop of Rome, 661 869-1000



Pope, Benedict, Temptation, Angelus

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